Berhampur: As the severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ took shape over Bay of Bengal and is expected to hit Puri in early hours of May 3, panicky people in Ganjam district thronged shops and vegetable markets to stock up adequate quantities of essential commodities.
While the impact of the cyclone is expected to last for three days, people have been buying essential commodities, especially potatoes and onions over a week now, not being sure on how long the effect will last. Not only shops, people were seen making beelines before petrol pumps to fill up tanks of their vehicles.
Taking advantage of these situations, dishonest traders have been jacking up prices of potato and onion. In some places, traders have hoarded on potato packets to make huge profits in the future. Price of the potato has jumped from Rs17 per kg to Rss40 and at some places, it sells beyond Rs40 per kg.
The administration has maintained silence on this matter. No strong step has been taken to crack down on unscrupulous traders. The consumers are exploited by the traders in the city.
The rate of potato was Rs17 per kg till Tuesday, but it jumped from Wednesday. A sudden rise in the rates of potatoes and onions during disasters is not a new thing in the city. The administration was aware of this earlier. District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange had organised a meeting with the traders Wednesday where he had warned traders that the authorities would take strong action against those who will try to increase the price of potatoes and other vegetables in the market.
But traders didn’t care about the warnings. The price of potato reached Rs40 per kg Thursday morning and after some time the tuber disappeared from the markets of Berhampur.
Locals alleged that unscrupulous traders were creating artificial scarcity to hike the price in the city in future time.
However, an enforcement team of the supply department tried to crack down on unscrupulous traders but did not get much success. Sub-collector Digant Routray said extra 200 quintals of potatoes have been imported to get rid of the potato scarcity.